Industry Leaders Forum: Daniel Carpenter, CEO, Vivid Property Services

Cleaning needs to be seen as of primary importance and a value proposition for attracting people back to the office.

How was 2023 for Vivid?

2023 saw Vivid continue to steer the business closer towards our mission of being the most respected, inclusive, and innovative company in the industry.  

The post covid economy has driven up the cost of doing business whilst simultaneously putting immense pressure on our clients to find cost savings, from the amount of floor space occupy, to the services they procure. Using technology, we adapted to our client needs through flexible and dynamic commercial and service delivery models. 

2023 did see us say goodbye to some long-term clients. Whilst difficult, these decisions have ultimately propelled us in the direction we want to head and allowed us to bring on many wonderful new clients.

Restructuring our business to be more vertically aligned to our clients has been hard. This challenge was also one of the highlights ultimately. Mobilising an entire organisation to shift old ways of doing business, without losing the secret sauce, to new ways of creating value for clients in a sustainable way is no small thing.

Along the way we continued to attract some of the industry’s most talented people. Keeping retention levels high and ensuring everyone’s health and wellbeing, whilst also meeting the needs of our clients is any organisation’s most important challenge, but I am proud that 2023 saw us exceed our employee engagement targets.

Being acknowledged, on a competitive basis, by the industry for the work we do in our communities and commitment to improving the education and employment levels of our First Nations People also makes me proud.

Our strengths, achievements and progress excite me – we are now harnessing the best of what we were with the best of what we needed to be.

What are the company’s main priorities for 2024?

We have six key priorities for next year. We continue to be entirely Client Focused and to a large extent we support that with being Intelligence Led. Our technology enables us to go beyond what others can offer.  Like every other successful company, we will continue to Grow Our Brand and secure Profitability to enable us to prosper and importantly Empower Our People to achieve their own personal goals. Moreover, we value our extensive High Performing Supply Chain and we will continue to work with them to be the best that they can be. 

What are currently the most significant opportunities in the industry? How can the industry best leverage these?

The silver lining of the Covid epidemic was that the value of the cleaning industry became very salient, as were the many complexities inherent in the industry. There has been a drift away from that with the prevalence of work from home and economic threats taking the centre stage that was abandoned by Covid. However, the opportunity now is for Vivid to play a key role in partnering with our clients to ‘earn the commute’ of their people.

Vested outsourcing provides the framework for clients and outsourced partners to work together to achieve win-win outcomes and we aspire to play our role in that. We often say that we aren’t just a cleaning company. We are a formidable technology company, the only one in the industry in fact, to develop and maintain our own CMMS. We are also a workforce planning company, incident response team and go-to for sustainability and social inclusion outcomes and much more. Collaboration between clients and cleaning companies can garner very good holistic outcomes. The master-servant mentality really needs to be exposed and exiled from the broader industry. 

Are there any key sustainability targets Vivid has made for 2024?

We are very driven to play our role, and to support our clients in meeting their objectives around sustainability. We focus on the factors that we can control like finding substitutes for chemicals or reducing the emissions impact though our national fleet being 70 per cent hybrid. We have set targets for these environmental impacts including purchasing 80 per cent enviro friendly products and all fleet emissions coming in lower than the Australian average of 146.5 Co2 Grams per Km.

What’s your leadership philosophy?

There are many truisms that tend to guide my thinking and of course thinking is easier than putting it into practice. Peter Drucker is still the seminal source of most leadership wisdom, although probably too dated for our younger generations. He said, ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’. I don’t like too much uncertainty and so that motivates me to really drive focus on where we want to develop our business, have robust budgets in place and continuously improve into areas that will solidify our future as a business. Although I am terribly impatient, I know from experience that actively building business maturity is hard, you carry a lot of scars, and it takes time because you are building the plane and flying it at the same time. It’s not for everyone, however I believe that it’s necessary to create the future you want for the organisation.

Do you have a message for the industry?

Work hard to ensure that where cleaning is seen to be devalued, that as an industry we work collectively to right those wrongs. Cleaning needs to be seen as of primary importance and a value proposition for attracting people back to the office. As such cleaning should be valued commercially by property owners, tenants and procurement representatives and not seen as a begrudging expenditure. It is our job as an industry to drive these value propositions and continue to lift the profile, importance and ultimately the respect given to the industry. This will have tremendously positive flow-on effects for all involved. The Vested literature talks a lot about, ‘What’s in it for WE’ and we need to consider all the stakeholders in that equation.

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